Then and Now, Have We Learned Yet?

Date Submitted: 05/23/2002
Author Info: Clark (Santa Rosa, CA - USA) 
Occupation: Technical Services
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

For many years as a Vietnam war veteran I’ve felt a sense of sorrow for having been part of something that was wrong and the loss of it all. In Sept of 2001 I went back to Vietnam to find a meaning and closure to it. For whatever reason as near as I can figure at the very time frame I was returning to the ground the fragments of the past I carried and saying my goodbyes to those who were left behind so long ago, the acts of 9/11 were happening here. The next day as I waited for the train to take me away and on to my next appointment with destiny an elderly man approached me and began a conversation in mixed English and Vietnamese, he was a former N.V.A. officer who was 30 yrs prior, my enemy, and was in the area where I served. One of the first things he did was to express empathy for what had transpired here, even after we had killed 3 million of them in a “war,” what kind of people are these? Something that we as Americans must learn from for the future for our children are lost in unabated hatred, is all I can say. In the next few days I experienced a sense of peace that I could never have found any other way. The finale was in Hue where I ended up saving a person’s life. All I can say is what my grandmother once said “the lord works in strange ways”.


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